Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Easiest Way To Adjust Your Engine Belts!

    I have a slipping power steering belt. After replacing my power steering pump last year, we found that the only way to adjust the tension is to have two people underneath the RV. One with a REALLY long pry bar and the other with two wrenches to tighten the bolts. This is not ideal. Because of the positioning of the pulleys and exhaust pipes it is almost impossible to get the correct tension. That's why it squeals when under heavy load. This is really bad for the belt and pulley. It will wear prematurely and may snap at a most inopportune time! I went looking for a better, less muscle-intensive solution and managed to actually find one that works!

It's got the grand name of, "Belt Tension Jack," but really it's a simple piece of equipment that works very well on MANY sizes of belts and pulleys. It's made up of two slender, slightly curved pieces that will fit in (or on) the inside of the pulley's rim and a solid piece that goes to a hexagonal adjuster bolt. There are several different length extensions you can add or subtract to get the correct fit. The whole thing is made from chrome plated steel and is decently constructed. Not perfect, but serviceable. It can be found online for less than $20.00 and doesn't take up much storage space.

Typical Use
It's pretty easy to use. Loosen the bolts that allow the belt to be tensioned. Usually it's one in a slot and another just in a hole to lock it down. Just figure out the distance between the two pulleys you are trying to adjust the belt on, insert the correct adapter (or none for short distances) and place the curved ends into the pulley grooves. Hand tighten till it stays put. Then get a 1/2" wrench and begin turning the adjuster until the belt is properly tightened. Make sure to get the factory tension specs as over-tightening is just as bad as under-tightening. Over-tightening could cause damage to the bearings in the pulleys or the device it's driving, like a power steering pump or alternator. Once tensioned, simply tighten the bolts on the adjuster and loosen the tension jack to remove. Done.

It's really easy to use and makes it a snap to make sure you have correctly tensioned belts. MUCH easier to put a belt on this way when you are having a roadside emergency due to a broken belt! Believe me, I know!

Be Seeing You...Down the Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


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